Vampyre Nation (2012)

Vampyre Nation (2012)

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Vampires and humans, working together as nature intended. Or something.
Vampires and humans, working together as nature intended. Or something.

Twitter Plot Summary: Vampires and humans are able to co-exist after a synthetic blood is released, however there’s something worse than vamps out there…

Genre: Action/Horror/Sci-Fi

Director: Todor Chapkanov

Key Cast: Andrew Lee Potts, Heida Reed, Claudia Bassols, Ben Lambert, Neil Jackson, Roark Critchlow, Iliana Lazarova, Yana Marinova, Ewan Bailey, Hristo Balabanov

Five Point Summary:

1. How big is that office? Taking minimalism to extremes – so much floor space!
2. That chap from Scotland Yard is really annoying.
3. “From now on, flashlights off.” Er… the corridor is actually quite light anyway, you don’t need them.
4. Shooting the windows out despite there being no enemies nearby. Clever…
5. Quick, there’s a race against time before… never mind.

It’s the near future, where vampires and humans live in an uneasy truce. A synthetic blood is out on the market and it’s turning vampires into giant killer bats. A team of humans and a team of vampires must now join forces to stop the giant vampire bat epidemic. On the human side we have a disgruntled cop and a descendant of Jonathan Harker, and the vampires have a son of Vlad The Impaler, who in longstanding tradition speaks in Queen’s English. It takes rather a long time for the plot to properly get started, but when it does it’s actually not too bad. That came as quite a surprise to me as well.

Set in Romania, filmed in Bulgaria and featuring a cast of Brits and Eastern European locals, Vampyre Nation borrows/steals liberally from many other vampire films, and does so unashamedly. As a hotchpotch of other, better films it could have been worse. Like Against The Dark, for example. There’s a bit of Blade, a pinch of Daybreakers and a soupçon of Bram Stoker’s Dracula mythology thrown into the mix. That in itself isn’t where the problem lies. Nor is the production values which are, on the whole, actually quite impressive for a low budget feature. Even the CGI and practical effects are good, which is perhaps the most startling thing No, the problem is the script again. The core plot is quite linear and straightforward, but other elements regarding the character’s relationships with one another are dropped in haphazardly and at inopportune moments – one character has a heart to heart with his long lost wife at a crucial juncture in the story, where time is of the essence and, in all honesty, the conversation could have happened at any other point.

Somebody had just called his mother a vampire bat. He wasn't happy about it.
Somebody had just called his mother a vampire bat. He wasn’t happy about it.

There’s emphasis on the divide between humans and vampires, and the prejudices that exist between them, but it’s not written well enough to have any impact. Little effort is taken to explain the reason why the two races don’t get along, so by that token there’s little for the audience to care about. It’s also the fault of the director – it’s workmanlike in approach and it’s almost as if the script has been adapted literally word for word. In what was likely a rush to get the film finished on time and under budget, we move with reckless abandon from one scene to the next and the characters barely have time to breathe and/or get their dialogue out before we’re moving onto the next scene. I’m all in favour of fast pacing where appropriate, but at least give the story chance to actually happen.

The banter between human Harker and vampire Nikolai is perhaps the saving grace, because despite the material put in front of them Andrew Lee Potts and Ben Lambert make the most of it. Their verbal sparring zings despite the poor dialogue, making it more about the performance than anything else. If nothing else, it more than makes up for the poor story.

Favourite scene: Vlad The Impaler sliding in, looking completely excellent as he does so.

Silly Moment: A vampire runs out into direct sunlight, for no good reason, and promptly burns up.

Score: 2.5/5

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